I’m Just Naïve Enough

I don’t consider myself a fool. (Though I suppose we all think that about ourselves.)

Fools have too hard a time of it. It’s not easy, after all, being the bane of humanity.

Fools will foil your best plans. Fools rush in. Fools flatter themselves. Fools criticize, complain, and condemn. And any fool can make a rule.

No. I would not want to be a fool.

But what about being naïve?  

Naiveté is defined as a lack of experience. Innocence. It’s not so much not knowing, as it’s not having had an opportunity to know.

Is that an evil thing? You could easily be led to believe so. Look how much children are encouraged to ditch their naïve rose-colored glasses in favor of “reality.”

“There was a time when that kind of thing looked like the kingdom of heaven, but somewhere along the line it had lost its glow. Maybe that was just the cost of growing up. And maybe the cost of growing up was too high.”- James P. Blaylock

Oh yes, once doffed it’s hard to don those rosy lenses. We forget to tell children that part.

Which is a shame because I believe there’s something to be said for naiveté and success. Speaking of her success in music, Lady Gaga said:

“If I had known anything, this never would have happened. It was my delusion and naiveté that brought me here.”

And Heston Blumenthal, a world-famous chef with three honorary degrees from Reading, Bristol and London Universities for his scientific approach to cooking, notes:

“As we get older, we tend to become more risk averse because we tend to find reasons why things won’t work. When you are a kid, you think everything is possible, and I think with creativity it is so important to keep that naiveté.”

Of course, too much naiveness can be detrimental. I’m not advocating ignorance. For just a moment or two, though, what if you could walk in the moon glitter night of possibilities? Would you try new and fantastic solutions to your troubles?

What would it feel like if doubt was replaced with naïve hope? Would you smile more? Would you recapture the bold confidence of youth? Would you succeed further if you naively didn’t know you weren’t supposed to?

I don’t consider myself a fool. And for a certainty you are no fool.

Naive, however?

Yes. Let’s be just naïve enough.

I suspect it will serve us well.

– Zac Smith, VC